Shawn Mendes -- “Mercy”
Shawn Mendes’ is well on his way to becoming a regular staple on the Billboard charts after making an impressive debut last year with his first studio album, Handwritten. His early career successes came following his tremendous growth in exposure after his cover videos on Vine went viral, propelling him into a permanent spotlight at an impressive 15-years-old. This fall, the now 18-year-old singer-songwriter is readying his sophomore effort, Illuminate, due out September 23 via Island Records, and if the first three singles are any indication, to write Mendes off as just another teenage pop sensation is to do him a major disservice. “Mercy” is the fourth single released in advance of his next studio album, featuring a similar storyline as his lead single “Treat You Better,” with both songs focusing on mature themes lyrically, such as abusive relationships and the honesty that comes with a deeper love. The track is a bit somber at times, with a building melody that frames Mendes’ striking vocals well as he continues to both sing and pour his heart out. With a sold-out show at the preeminent Madison Square Garden this September, the near-future is looking a little brighter than some of the themes of heartbreak the pop star is notorious for belting about.
Metallica -- “Hardwired”
Metallica is a fixture forever influencing the culture of rock music as we know and love it, and the legendary group continues to make history over three decades after their hell-raising debut. This week, in addition to the group releasing “Hardwired,” the lead single off of their first album in 8 years, Spotify launched its first original music documentary, Landmark - Metallica: The Early Years. The four-part series provides insight on the group’s formation in 1981 and on the period leading up to the release of 1984’s Ride The Lighting. In addition to candid interviews with frontman James Hetfield, drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett, the documentary series features never-before-seen footage, trippy animations from Anthony Schepperd and also details how Metallica continues to shape the success of many bands (and themed companion playlists) today. In addition to the Spotify series, the new Metallica album is tentatively due out later this year, with the highly anticipated book, Metallica: Back To The Front, seeing its release on September 13. The book highlights the making of their classic 1986 album Master Of Puppets, which will also see a remastered deluxe reissue of the album. Needless to say, there’s no better time than now to be (or become) a Metallica fan, whether you’re here for the glory day nostalgia or welcoming their new single “Hardwired,” it’s indisputable the group is further continuing and preserving their legacy with veteran rock star grace.Tory Lanez -- “All The Girls”Tory Lanez significantly leveled up today with the release of his debut album, I Told You. After receiving major props for his plentiful arsenal of mixtapes, his commercially successful 2015 single “Say It,” and signing to Mad Love and Interscope Records to close out last year, the 24-year-old recording artist now has his first major project on the board and is already hungry for what’s up next. The Benny Blanco-executive produced album has no features (a la J. Cole), giving fans their first serious opportunity to get to know the singer through music entirely his own. “All The Girls” harnesses Lanez’s own braggadocios brand of alternative R&B, affectionately self-described as swavey, as he layers his signature blend of crooning and spitting over polished-but-drippy production. The track is a strong offering from what is already promising to be Lanez’s finest collection of music to date, defining him more than ever as a force to be reckoned with.
Vassy -- “Nothing To Lose”
With someone as pioneering as Tiesto describing her as “one of my favorite singers in the world,” Vassy’s remarkable vocal talents make a vigorous return to New Music Friday with her new single “Nothing To Lose.” The declarative track puts the Australian-born singer in her favorite environment to shine, with an EDM-tinged beat propelling her voice forward, as she dives into a personal tale of perseverance. Of “Nothing To Lose,” Vassy says, "The parallels between the challenges and joys of everyday life inspired me. While each day brings new challenges, whether or not you succeed is something that everyone can relate to.” The song marks a welcome follow-up to her 2015 full length We Are Young, and as she readies new music, she’s making it clear she’s putting it all on the line because she has nothing to lose - or prove.
Walker Hayes -- “Break The Internet”
Walker Hayes continues to be a breath of fresh air as he uniquely navigates the contemporary country music landscape. His edgy songwriting and smooth vocal approach consistently puts him in a lane merging country, pop and rock, with his latest single “Break The Internet,” highlighting the best of those worlds, with a subtle nod to Kim Kardashian and the Ninja Turtles alike. With “Break The Internet” paying homage to the art of ‘humble bragging,’ the song makes for a fitting soundtrack as Hayes has also today set free the second installment to his 8Tracks series, the first of which has reached over a million streams on Spotify since its release at the start of this summer. With Hayes racking up career milestones more than worthy of the humble brag and considering “Break The Internet” holds a satirical vibe, we’re happy to let his charmingly cheerful ego slide.